Oct 25, 2021 - Food and Drink
Bite club: Homestyle Filipino foods
Dishes of food.
Filipino dishes kare kare, pinkabet and sapin sapin from Ruby's Fast Food . Photo: Monica Eng/Axios.

It's Filipino American History Month, a time to celebrate the culture of the second-largest Asian American group in the country.

  • So we asked Flipino-American writer Sarah Lynn Pablo for a Bite Club recommendation, thinking she might send us to the new Urban Space food hall to try the Isla Filipino booth or to Jennivee's Bakery in Lakeview for ube cupcakes.

Instead she pointed us to the ultra-homey Ruby's Fast Food in Albany Park, open for more than 20 years.

  • "It's a family run business with food that's like what mom used to make," Pablos tells Axios. "They're best known for crispy pata, a deep fried pork knuckle. But honestly it's the best steam table you'll find in the tri-state area."

👋 Monica here. I stopped by on a rainy Sunday morning to find a line of folks picking up their tapsilog breakfasts, with cured meat, fried rice and egg.

  • The crispy pata wasn't ready yet so I got scoops of kare kare, a peanut butter enriched stew of vegetables, and beef tripe as well as the pinkabet, a vegetable stew with okra, eggplant, sweet potatoes and, my favorite, bitter melon.
  • For dessert I got sapin sapin (sah-PEEN) layers of coconut-infused glutinous rice cake.
  • Next time I hope to get that crispy pata. But these stews and dessert brought soul satisfying Filipino sunshine to a gloomy Chicago day.

Go deeper: Pablo offers guidance on shopping for Filipino food at the massive Seafood City grocery store.

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